'This is a disgrace': Frustrated Montrealers call out sluggish snow-removal service

Some Montrealers are wondering what’s taking so long for snow-removal crews to clear their streets.

City says half its streets should be cleared by Thursday morning, but NDG-CDN, Rosemont lag far behind

The city of Montreal says that all the major streets have been cleared of snow. Residential streets should be cleared by the weekend. (CBC)

Some Montrealers are wondering what's taking so long for snow-removal crews to clear their streets.

"I find this is a disgrace," said Nicole Russ, a longtime resident of Côte-des-Neiges–Notre-Dame-de-Grâce. "It's not the first snowstorm we've had in our life, and I don't know who's where and who's doing what."
NDG resident Nicole Russ says the streets are still covered in snow from last weekend's storm, and there aren't even any snow-removal signs up yet. (CBC)

Over the weekend, the city saw about 20 centimetres of snow fall.

But according to the city's snow removal website, some boroughs have only removed a fraction of the snow from their streets.

For example, by Wednesday evening in Côte-des-Neiges–NDG, only 31 per cent of streets had been cleared.

"We don't even have a sign here that they're going to come. You know, so you try and [manoeuvre] yourself over these mountains of snow and detours," said Russ. "It's very difficult. I'm 81 years old.... and I find this a disgrace."

Borough Mayor Sue Montgomery responded to complaints in a post on social media Wednesday.

"I understand your frustration with the snow, and I have been pushing for answers. What I am told is that the equipment was set to pick up piles of snow on Monday but then had to be dispatched to plow snow because of snowfall that day," Montgomery's post said.

Nicole Russ, 81, says she's been having a hard time getting around the snow-covered streets and sidewalks in NDG. (CBC)
Montrealers in other boroughs are frustrated, too.

In Rosemont—La-Petite-Patrie, where about half the streets were cleared by Wednesday evening, some residents said they feel forgotten.

"We've had no snow removal. They put the signs up yesterday, and I guess they changed their minds because they took them back down," said Rosemont resident Peter Petanowitch.

The boroughs where the most snow had been cleared, two-thirds of it by Wednesday evening, were Saint-Léonard and Anjou.

The city says it's working around the clock and that half of Montreal streets should be cleared by Thursday morning.

"So far we're going pretty fast, faster than we thought," said city spokesperson Philippe Sabourin. "You have to keep in mind we have two million cubic metres of snow to [remove]."

Sabourin says the city's major arteries have been cleared. Now crews will work on clearing residential streets.

"By Saturday, most of the streets will be done. Maybe the last street will be done on Sunday."

That will be just in time for Mother Nature to strike again. Anywhere between 10 and 20 centimetres of snow is expected Saturday.

With files from CBC reporter Navneet Pall

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